IVYBRIDGE coach Lewis Paterson admitted his team were not at their best as they were beaten 29-25 away by 11th-placed Lydney in National Three South West.
The defeat was only Ivybridge’s third of the season. Their only previous losses had come against the top two – Camborne and Old Redcliffians.
However, they do stay fourth in the table and are still just six points behind leaders Camborne, who surprisingly lost at Bracknell.
Paterson, who had helped give Ivybridge an early 10-0 lead at Lydney, has told his team not to dwell on their defeat in the Forest of Dean and bounce back against Cleve next Saturday at Cross-in-Hand.
“We had a very, very poor first half,” said Paterson. “We gave a lot of penalties away and Lydney had a very strong driving maul, which we did not defend as well as we know we could. We paid for that as it gave them massive momentum.
“We knew Lydney would be really hungry for a win. But we started off brilliantly. We had a great kick-off, great pressure, won a penalty and knocked three points over. Then we scored a try and we were 10-0 up, but we just did not capitalise on it.
“They (Lydney) were really digging it out for a win with a big crowd behind them. Some things went their way. We had a bit of luck last week and they had a lot of luck this week.
“However, we were just really poor, although we had a much better second half. We showed some really good character and our intensity and fitness started to pay off.
“The main thing was we did get a bonus point this weekend. That was massive.
“We really stuck at it and just kept going to the wire. To get that away bonus point was huge. Last year we did not do that, so it again does show we are improving.”
He added: “Lydney had some real grit and determination and they played a good game-plan.
“It is a learning curve for us. Maybe a little bit of complacency got into our game. We were on the back of three five-point wins and were maybe just a little bit too relaxed going there. Then starting the game pretty much 10-0 up, the boys were maybe thinking it’s easy.
“We always keep reiterating to the young lads that it is never over that quick, especially against sides like Lydney, who are looking for that big result after being on the back of a few losses. Full credit to Lydney.
“But we have had a really good month in November. You have to look at the whole month and we are really, really happy with it. We have come out of November with 16 points from a possible 20 – that’s massive.
“We are still in a good position.
“We have only lost three times. This time last year was a different story.
“One loss in November is not too much to dwell on. It is frustrating as we know we were not at our best.
“But what we can’t do is dwell, although we have to make sure the result hurts. It did hurt. It hurt for me and for (fellow coach) Trips (Jamie Tripcony) as we know we are better than that
“We just have to look at Cleve next week now. That’s a big home game.”
Ivybridge, who were without influential props Nathan Reeves and Matt Finn, took a 3-0 lead with a Billy Pinkus penalty before Paterson scored their first try on 15 minutes.
But then it all went wrong for the visitors, who also lost forward James Sloan with an injury. Lydney, whose main weapon was their driving maul, scored 22 unanswered points to take command of the game.
Ivybridge, who handed a debut to prop Marcus Prout following his 18th birthday six days earlier, hit back and closed the gap to 22-18 with a Billy Pinkus penalty and a try by his younger brother, Mitch.
However, Lydney, coached by former Plymouth Albion captain Rhys Oakley, dug deep and responded with a fifth try to go 29-18 up.
It looked like that might be the final score but Ivybridge grabbed a valuable bonus point with a late Tripcony try following a good scrum.
WESTERN COUNTIES WEST
DEVONPORT Services have moved to the top of Western Counties West with a 24-19 home victory over Burnham-on-Sea on Saturday.
Services looked to be cruising to victory when they led 24-5 relatively early in the second half.
But they lost their way then and Burnham came back to secure a losing bonus point.
Although Services missed out on a try-scoring bonus point, only managing three tries, the win alone was enough for them to leapfrog Truro, who have dropped down from first to fourth after a 47-12 defeat at Cullompton.
The top four are now just separated by two points, with Services set to visit Truro next weekend.
“We have to be happy to be top of the league, but we are there to be shot at now,” said Services team manager Kieran Leach.
“We’ve got Truro away next, followed by Wadebridge at home and then St Ives away. That’s a tough run.”
Services felt they did not play to their best but were pleased just to win.
“We went 24-5 up but then we seemed to switch off,” said Leach.
“But they (Burnham) are a good side. After what they did against Cullompton the week before we were not going to take them lightly.”
He added: “The positive was our defence again, while the negative was probably our execution. That was not as good as it has been.
“We did not play that well but still won the game and are now looking forward to Truro away next week.”
Prop Jack Martin got Services off to a good start with a try from a line-out on 15 minutes. Matt Anstis converted.
Just after the half-an-hour mark, Devonport doubled their lead when hooker Sam Bennett crossed for their second from another line-out.
Burnham pressed late on in the first half and were awarded a penalty but missed the kick at goal.
After the break, Services went 17-0 up with an Anstis penalty before Burnham reduced the gap with a try.
The home team responded when Matt Gregory made a break from a line-out and off-loaded to the supporting Charles Horn to score. Anstis again converted to make it 24-5.
But Burnham closed to within one score and, with the last play of the game, nearly broke out and scored a winning try, only to knock the ball on.
PLYMSTOCK Albion Oaks coach Tim Mathias hopes his side’s shock 9-6 defeat to previously winless Honiton will be a wake-up call to his players.
Oaks had won their previous five matches, including beating league leaders Falmouth and putting 52 points on Topsham last weekend.
But their great run of form, which had seen them close right on the heels of the top two, came to an end in east Devon in a match decided by penalty kicks.
They do remain fourth in the table but are now four points off third-placed Paignton, six behind second-placed Saltash and eight off leaders Falmouth, who have a game in hand.
“We just lacked a bit of physicality really,” said Mathias. “They (Honiton) had some big forwards and they got on top and dominated the breakdown area. We never really got into the game.
“I’m struggling to remember times we had the ball for two or three phases.
“Honiton are a better side than their league position reflects. I can see them running other teams close there, especially with the way they play the elements and how they know how to use the slope.
“I think other teams will find it quite tricky going there. It’s not an easy place to go. I just think they struggle getting sides for away games.”
However, Mathias admitted his team under performed at Allhalllows Playing Fields.
“I’m just frustrated for the lads,” said the former Plymouth Albion prop. “If we play good rugby and lose, then that’s rugby, but this week we just did not perform. I know individually we are better than what we showed Honiton.
“But maybe it is a bit of a wake-up call that has come at the right time.
“We have an opportunity to put it right against Lanner next week before we go into two big game against Paignton and the Pirates.
“Maybe it’s better to lose now to give us a kick going into those other games.
“You could see afterwards the lads were all devastated and really frustrated with themselves that they didn’t perform better. That’s the attitude you want after a loss like that.
“They accepted that they did not perform as well as they should have done.”
Saltash were the only Plymouth Combination team to win in the Cornwall/Devon League at the weekend.
They kept the pressure on Falmouth with a big 65-13 away win at Topsham.
The Ashes did the damage in the second half, having only led 17-8 at the break.
The Moorlands Lane side ran in 10 tries in total, with Will Morton, Ryan Rayner and Ryan Cruickshanks claiming two apiece and Dom Mulberry, Phil Eatwell, Lewis Wells and Will Moriarty also scoring.
Meanwhile, Plymouth Argaum, Tamar Saracens and Tavistock all had nightmares down in Cornwall.
Plymouth Argaum’s three-game winning run was ended by the ever-improving Lanner.
The Cornish side won 31-6 to move nine points clear of the bottom three.
The first half was quite even, but Lanner were more clinical.
The home team took an early 7-0 lead but Argaum, making their first trip to Lanner, then had some pressure. Ali Murray kicked a penalty before missing one not long later.
Lanner, with their scrum getting one top, scored a second try to make it 12-3 before Argaum pressed late in the half but were unable to force their way over the whitewash.
Murray kicked a penalty after the interval before Lanner scored a crucial third try and make Argaum’s task massively difficult.
Lanner defended everything the Plymouth side threw at them and added two late tries to secure their first try-scoring bonus point win of the season.
However, Tamar Saracens and Tavistock’s trip to Cornwall proved even more disappointing, with neither team managing a single point in big defeats.
Tamar Saracens, playing their first match since the departure of coach Stuart Busfield, were beaten 60-0 by Bodmin.
It was their biggest defeat of the season and they are now 11 points off safety.
Bodmin, who are now up to fifth, ran in nine tries – scored by eight different players.
Tavistock also suffered their biggest loss of the campaign, crashing 80-0 to leaders Falmouth.
The west Devon side, whose coach Hammy Kerswill was away, just had no answer to Falmouth’s all-round display as they touched down 14 times – seven tries in each half.
OPMs moved back to the top of Devon Two with a 53-0 home win over struggling St Columba & Torpoint.
Powerful winger Shaun Grundy proved a thorn in Saints’ side with a hat-trick of tries. Fellow winger Martin Skelly also managed two in the opening 25 minutes before having to go off with a hamstring injury.
Gavin Rae, Matt Naylor and Mickey Jake scored their other tries.
Saints did show plenty of spirit and they did frustrate their former Devon One opponents for spells, particularly in the first half, but they struggled to cope with the pace and power of the likes of Grundy and number eight Naylor.
“It’s four wins out of four and more importantly it’s a nil,” said OPMs captain Henry Matthews afterwards. “We have only conceded one try in four games and we are happy about that.”
However, Matthews said the Old Boys were not that happy with their first half display against the Saints.
They did lead 20-0 at the break but they gave away too many penalties and had two players sin-binned.
“We weren’t happy with our first half performance,” admitted Matthews. “We gave away too many penalties and we were just bitty – we didn’t really get running.
“But when we played to our structure we scored a try every time.
“However, we really have to cut those penalties out.”
Centre Rae gave OPMs the lead with a penalty on six minutes before Skelly showed his pace to run in down the right for a converted try.
Speedy wingers Grundy and Skelly added two tries in six minutes but Saints then had some decent possession in the final 15 minutes of the half, although they never really looked like scoring.
OPMs came out firing for the second half and Rae added their fourth try within the first minute when he went over under the posts following a well-worked move from a scrum.
Rae missed a penalty before Grundy added his second before completing his hat-trick two minutes later.
Number eight Naylor, who had been yellow carded at the end of the first half, used his strength to score on 65 minutes before replacement Jake completed the try-scoring three minutes from time, with Huw Moorcraft adding the conversion.
There should have also been a derby match at Weston Mill, where Old Techs were due to host bottom side Plympton Victoria, but the visitors were forced to pull out on the morning of the match due to lack of player availability.
DHSOB were also short of players and that possibility cost them victory at home to Salcombe.
The Stonehouse Creek-based club lost by just two points – 14-12 – with a conversion the difference between the teams.
Director of rugby Mike Freeman had mixed feeling after the game.
“We had between 16 and 20 players not available for whatever reasons,” said Freeman.
“We only had 16 players and some of them arrived after kick-off, so in the circumstances we did well. I was overjoyed with the players’ effort and chuffed to get a bonus point.
“But we know it was a game that was there for the taking.
“It was a game that could have gone either way and I think a draw would have been a fair result.
“It was a cracking game of rugby. Salcombe are well organised and had 20 players. The referee was very good and we had a pretty good crowd.”
The game was 0-0 at half-time but it came to life after the interval.
Salcombe went 7-0 up with a catch-and-drive try but DHSOB, who had the influential Lopeti Faha among their absentees, responded with a great move finished off by debutant Tomas Matanatabu. Unfortunately, the Old Boys could not convert the try.
Salcombe went 14-5 up after DHSOB knocked on trying to play out of their own 22 and the visitors took advantage of the loose ball.
But back came DHSOB with Shawn Muncunbitu scoring a great team try, which Mike Walkden converted.
However, the city side could not get not get another score to win the game, which they felt they would have done had they had a couple more of their key players available.